Tue, September 24 2013

Expand generosity through transparency and vulnerability

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Nonprofit leadership •

The Generosity Network Book In The Generosity Network, philanthropist Jeffrey Walker and fundraising expert Jennifer McCrea team up to show how a shift from transactional to transformational philanthropy can help your nonprofit accomplish even bigger goals. The book is a deeply inspirational instruction manual for forging connections that can move your mission forward. Beyond inspiration, this dream team of social good offers plenty of practical advice for fundraisers looking to build meaningful relationships with donors and partners.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is the focus on understanding the emotional roots of relationship building and learning to create true partnerships with major donors and community leaders through trust. As you might expect, transparency is paramount.

From The Generosity Network:

“Today’s best nonprofits recognize this truth. They welcome two-way transparency, even when it’s difficult or stressful—and that includes being willing to entertain tough questions and challenges from well-intentioned supporters. Painful conversations, they’ve found, can be a path to discovery, learning, and growth.”

To fully embrace the idea of transparency, Jeffrey and Jennifer say that nonprofits need to first understand the vulnerabilities of donors and partners, including:

—the importance of personal or public recognition. Some donors want public recognition, others prefer to stay out of the spotlight.
—the intensely personal reasons for giving. Each donor’s motivation for giving will be unique.
—how much connection the donor wants with your organization. Some donors may consider their gift connection enough, while other donors crave ongoing involvement.
—the experience your charity represents in the donor’s life. Has there been a life-changing experience that drives them to give to your cause?
—any concerns the donor may have about giving, such as how the money will be spent or how much of a difference can be made.

Of course, it’s still critically important for organizations to practice openness when forging partnerships and bringing on new donors. You can show your commitment to transparency by being open about these three factors:

Your mistakes and missteps. Be as open about your failures as you are your successes. Show what you’ve learned and how you’re improving. Don’t try to hide mistakes—as we have seen all too often, this usually backfires.

How your strategy has evolved. Changing course isn’t something to be ashamed of, it shows how your organization is growing and adapting along with changing circumstances.

Your areas of uncertainty. Be upfront about what you don’t know or areas of weakness. This can help you identify strategic alliances, but also lets partners know you are a real organization, with imperfections like all others.


The book is officially available today, and you can learn how to create your own Generosity Network in our free webinar on October 1 at 1pm EDT. Jeff and Jennifer will be our guests and will share their insights to help you build a network of partners that will create lasting results for your organization. Register now to reserve your spot.

  • Comment: (3)   

Comments

“Your mistakes and missteps. Be as open about your failures as you are your successes. Show what you’ve learned and how you’re improving. Don’t try to hide mistakes—as we have seen all too often, this usually backfires.”

Can you elaborate on that? I usually hear the exact opposite. Failures aren’t really things to be proud of in my opinion. That’s why you don’t easily talk as openly about it. Still a debateable point.

Techa

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/25  at  05:03 PM

I think it’s not about being proud of failures, but being open and transparent about them. It takes courage to admit to making mistakes. Nothing wrong with that..

Posted by Sarge  on  09/27  at  06:42 PM

being an experienced innovation manager I fully agree with the above stated quote on failure. failure is an ininvetiable step on the latter of success.

Posted by Jonas  on  09/29  at  10:20 AM

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